Makers ~ Steve Mardo ~ Warwick

Artist’s name: Steve Mardo
Shop name:

1. Tell us about your work
I draw quirky illustrations for comics and magazines. I work in traditional ink on paper and then transfer the line art into Photoshop and digitally color the piece from there. I also work in traditional charcoal, acrylic, oil and watercolor if the job calls for it.

2. Is there a story behind the name of your business?
No nothing too cryptic.

In my experience it was quite simple, brand me and my art.

3. How did you come to be a professional artist/crafter/designer?
As a kid I always loved drawing. I originally wanted to be an animator when I was very young. My mom bought me an animation starter set one year and I realized how hard and kind of boring it was. Then a few years later I fell face first into comics. I was infatuated with them for a long time and still am. After I graduated high school I spent years going to comics conventions all over the country trying to get work. I realized I wasn't as good as I thought I was and decided to go to art school to get a degree and hone my craft. After a long 6 years, I finished up with a BFA in illustration from Massart in Boston. After that I made my way as a freelance illustrator.

4. Where do you draw your inspiration?
Movies, TV, music and of course comics are a huge inspiration. I always loved the more funny and quirky side of things. Movies like Spinal Tap, Ghosbusters, TV shows like Mst3k and cartoons like GI Joe and He Man were all influential. Marvel and DC comics had a huge effect on me. But, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was probably the biggest influence mainly because the concept was
so funky and original and it worked so well. When I went to school and took art history classes, it really opened a lot of ideas up for me. Some of my biggest influences style wise are Hokusai, Winsor Mccay and Tomer Hanuka.

5. What’s your favorite item to create?
I love telling stories through my art. I do a lot of editorial illustration work, which is illustrations for magazines and newspapers. But, more recently I've gone back to my roots and I'm really focused on telling my own stories. I just started a comic book series called Big Jackson. It's about an Elvis impersonator who finds himself getting into strange adventures before his shows. I self
published under my own company called Angry Baby Comics. It was refreshing and really fun to go back to that place.

6. What’s your best seller?
Right now I'm pushing my comic Big Jackson. I displayed it at the RI Comic Con last year and got a lot of positive feedback from it.

Whales in Space

I also have a few prints up on my store that I've gotten some exposure from; one is my whale's in space piece and the other is a fictional illustration about the one of the inventors of the scuba suit, August Denayrouze.

The Story of August Denayrouze

I also get a lot of commissions for fan art and original work.

7. How long have you been in Rhode Island?
I've been a Rhode Islander all my life. I had the wonderful chance of going to art school in NYC for a bit and I've traveled a good span of the US. But, I've always ended up back home.

8. What do you {heart} about Rhode Island?
One of the things I love about RI is the convenience, you can be in the city or near the beaches or out in the country in a 20 minute ride! We also have some of the best restaurants in the country, how can you beat that.

9. Favorite place to take out­of­towners? 
My wife and I love Wickford village, it has that quintessential New England town essence. Also Dan's restaurant in West Greenwich, it's always a
sure bet with out of towners. They have the best comfort food in the state.

10. Any advice for new/wannabe makers?
Art is a tough gig, freelance is even tougher. It takes years to hone your craft and sometimes even more to be recognized.

The internet is a great place to get started when getting your work out.

But, I've found face to face trumps all else, whether at art festivals, galleries or comic cons, it's the most effective.

Finally, be honest in your work. Don't try to be too much like other artists.

This took me awhile to grasp because I wanted to be a Jack of all trades. But if your good at a medium and love doing it, keep on that and people will notice. Oh and don't quit your job. The first few years are very frustrating and you might not see a job in months!

11. Please include anything else you’d like to add:
I'll be finished with Big Jackson # 2 this spring and making the comic conventions rounds this year so check my feeds and website for more art and info.


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